An encouraging story comes from Kaduna, Nigeria, where Muslim youths stood guard to protect Christians celebrating Christmas. Such stories are not merely heartwarming but are critical to understanding the global profile of Islam and its capabilities for peacebuilding. The story evokes memories of similar recent episodes around the world, including ones in Egypt, where Muslims encircled Coptic Churches, also at Christmas — and where Christians encircled Muslims in prayer during popular protests in Cairo.
Kaduna is in northern Nigeria, where strife between Christians and Muslims has been intense over the past decade-and-a-half, particularly since sharia law was established in Kaduna State in 2001. As a result of riots and other violence, Muslims and Christians have migrated to different parts of the city, where they live separately.